Seoul stocks open lower on virus worries

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened lower Monday, largely as investors wondered how the omicron variant of the coronavirus would affect the global economic reopening.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 21.9 points, or 0.75 percent, to 2,914.54 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

South Korea reported 3,309 new COVID-19 cases Monday, none of which have been confirmed as an infection from the omicron variant.

Most sectors traded lower, except vaccine-related bio and medical equipment stocks.

The KOSPI started off weak amid losses on the chemical and tech heavyweights.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.14 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.3 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics jumped 3.22 percent, with Celltrion increasing 2.1 percent.

Internet portal operator Naver lost 0.64 percent, leading carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.46 percent, and steelmaker POSCO decreased 2.21 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,193.75 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.45 won from the previous session’s close.

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